It Would Take Hundreds of Years to Digitize Records at Seattle National Archives

See my earlier articles at and at for background information about this ongoing story.

When officials from the Washington, D.C. office of the National Archives and Records Administration met with a handful of tribal representatives at the National Archives in Seattle earlier this month, one solution that was offered was digitization. That is, since access to the materials now stored in Seattle will be more difficult once those materials are moved to a NARA facility in California roughly four years from now, D.C. officials suggested that scanning the priceless photos, maps, and documents before they’re moved could help minimize any difficulties created by the surprise closure.

Very little of what’s stored in Seattle has been digitized — perhaps far, far less than even one percent, according to some estimates.

The full story by Feliks Banel may be fund in the MyNorthwest web site at:


Hundreds of years? Then we better get started


Michael E. Pollock March 4, 2020 at 10:31 am

David Rencher actually UNDERTAKES the difficulty of digitizing. Not only is there the need to unfold/flatten the documents, etc., there is the matter that a CAMERA is used for the digitization and the type of camera as well as the skill of the operator is critical. Have you ever wondered WHY a yellow highlight or red pencil edit so rarely show up in a photocopy? That is because a photocopy is typically a BLACK & WHITE photocopy, meaning the yellow is apt to “show” up as white and red as black. The imaging NEEDS to be done as “grayscale” so that yellow and red show up as different shades of gray, and then there is the there is lighting, focus, and other issues that a photographer must understand to get the best results.


Kudos to KIRO, the citizens of Seattle, Washington, and all of the Pacific Northwest for mobilizing in defense of local archives! But in fact, the precarious balance between budgets (and possibly other, less compelling motivations that may have been involved, since the reasons behind this proposed move have not been revealed) and the mission of NARA and of the entire US Government to preserve our history for the benefit of ourselves and our future, is something that affects everyone, in every part of the nation. Speak up for history!


Is there a petition against moving the Archives? If so, where is it and I will sign it. We need our Archives.


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